Devil’s Honeycomb Trail (Hughes Mountain)

Located in the Hughes Mountain Natural Area is a trail called Devil’s Honeycomb Trail. It consists of glades, savanna, old fields and it is half forest. Polygonal columns of rhyolite make up what the locals call the Devil’s Honeycomb and is located at the highest point of the mountain. It is one of Missouri’s geologic wonders.

Around 1.5 billion years ago the rocks were liquefied by volcanoes associated with the St. Francois Mountains. The molten rock contracted, and as it cooled cracked and created multi-sided columns and created a rhyolite formation that locals named the Devil’s Honeycomb. The Precambrian rock outcrops are among the most ancient, exposed rocks in the United States.

The Hughes Mountain Natural Area is located off highway M, 3 miles southeast of Irondale.

Think Positive

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable, determinatioin.”

Ralph Marston

Leave the negative thoughts behind you and focus on the positive thoughts. Feed them and make them stronger so that they become the master of your thoughts.

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.

Written by William Stafford An American Poet and pacifist.

Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Missouri Mines State Historic Site, Park Hills, MO.

The mining industry in the Southeast Missouri Lead District has been a big part of Missouri’s economy for more than 280 years.

The St Joseph Lead Company was founded on March 25, 1864. The Company bought the Bonne Terre lead mine and 950 acres in Bonne Terre, MO, in1864. By 1923 the company had 250 miles of underground railroad running under Flat River, Leadwood, Desloge, Rivermines, and Elvins, cities in Missouri.

Then in 1923, the Federal Mill No. 3 became the property of the St. Joe Lead Company and with improvements they made it into the largest mill in the world. St, Joe kept it operational until 1972. In 1975 the company donated the complex and surrounding property to the state of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession in 1976 and named it St. Joe State Park and in 1980 it was designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

Inside the mines old powerhouse is a museum and you can see the Midwest’s finest mineral collections. There is information about the history of the area’s lead mining and actual machinery that was used in the mine is on display.

There is off road vehicle trails in the park and features four lakes, two swimming beaches, equestrian trails, hiking and bicycling trails, water trail and picnic sites. There are also two campgrounds capable of accommodating campers with ORV or horse trailers.

My Take on Aging

Growing old doesn’t bother me. I know it is a given and I accept it. It’s the changes that concerns me.

Every year my hair grows grayer and my beard turns whiter. When I get out of bed in the mornings it sounds like someone poured milk on Rice Krispies.

The biggest disappointment is not being able to do the things I used to be able to do.

My strength wanes every year. Fifty pound feed sacks now feel like a hundred pounds. I easily run out of breath and my “Git” along seems to have done got up and got along all by itself. I can no longer play “pull my finger” because it is like playing Russian Roulette. The word “depends” takes on a whole new meaning. It now is known as a protective under garment. You now plan your outings around bathrooms. When I go fishing the number of steps decides where I will be fishing instead of where the fish may be hanging out. The song Gimme Three Steps is no longer about a jealous boyfriend and a man with hair colored yellow.

Growing up all I heard about was the “Golden Years” and I can tell you now the only thing Golden is my doctor’s wallet.

Finally I’ve started thinking a lot about the here after. I walk into a room thinking now what did I come in here after.

Now you have my thoughts on aging. Good thing is I am still on the right side of the dirt and hope to be for sometime yet. I just have to take it one day at a time and put on my big boy panties and say I can do this!

Palestine, Texas

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and onl\\ne how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg

Palestine is the county seat of Anderson county in Texas with a population just under 19,000. It is also the western terminus of the Texas State Railroad. It was established as a trading post in 1843 and in 1846 became the county seat.

The Lure of Fly-Fishing

My friend since second grade and fishing buddy David Tripp

“More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.” – Charles F. Orvis

Imagine if you will standing beside a clear, fast moving stream listening to the music of the water dancing over and around the rocks and through shallows as it flows downstream. You scan the water looking for feeding fish and the perfect place to cast your fly in hopes to catch that elusive lunker. You step into the water your eyes drinking in the beauty that surrounds you. The rays of the morning sun feel warm upon your face and a heron floats past you on its journey downstream. The fast moving water rushes past your legs and you deliver your first cast of the morning. Your eyes focus intently upon the brightly colored fly line as it floats downstream, watching for a signal that a fish has taken your fly.

Nature’s presence can be felt all around you and it fills your heart with joy and excitement. The feeling seeps into your inner being and you are overwhelmed with the joy of being alive. It’s at that moment you realize you aren’t there for the fish. You are there for you to become one with Mother Nature and to embrace the healing powers She has to offer. It is always available to us but our minds and heart have to be in the right place to take full advantage of these benefits. Our minds have to be free of societal pollution and we have to believe in our hearts and know in our minds that it is real and attainable. That my friend is why I pursue fly-fishing.

Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” – Joseph Campbell

I really never understood my overpowering compassion for the river until one day I came across this quote. I read it and the lightbulb in my head went off.

The river is my sacred space, or safe place, where I am free of societal pollution. Once I am in the presence of the river I am free to think with my mind, heart, body and soul. I have the ability to examine my own own beliefs and thoughts in great depth and to understand why I believe the way I do. I reach an understanding of who I really am and who I want to be. The revelation of what I want to accomplish in life and most importantly why becomes apparent. In this place I find a me that I can respect and love. If we can’t love ourselves what’s the point of loving at all?

With all the animosity in the world it is easy to plunge ourselves into the pit of depression which robs us of peace and happiness.

Seek your sacred space, find it and visit it frequently. The real you will soon become visible.

Winter Kayaking

There are a few of us diehards who refuse to put our kayaks away for the winter. Yeah we have been called crazy but it r3ealoy isn’t that bad. The water is crystal clear and you pretty much have the river to yourself. I cannot stress enough that you have to be prepared for anything that might happen.

I did this particular float about 6 or 7 years ago. I broke rule number one, I went by myself. It wasn’t very smart on my part and I am not very proud of myself. I was on the Bourbeuse River in Missouri. The river had flooded and the temps plummeted below freezing and ice had formed. As the water level dropped the ice had remained creating some beautiful sights.

Ice shelves left behind by falling water levels

The water was crystal clear and the beaver were active along with a few otters. In 3 miles I didn’t see another person.

Proper preparation can be the difference between life and death.

Rule number one: DON’T be a Wayne. Never go alone. ALWAYS take a buddy along with you. If you end up in the water it doesn’t take hypothermia long to set in and you need to get dry and warm ASAP! As you are getting out of your wet clothes they can be starting a fire to help the warming process.

Rule number two: Pack dry clothes in a good dry bag along with an emergency blanket. Don’t forget socks, underwear, gloves and boots.

Rule number three: Fill a dry bag with fire starting materials i.e. matches, lighter, good tinder. Make sure you are well versed in starting fire under any conditions.

Rule number four: Pack a first aid kit and signaling device.

Rule number five: ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and what time you plan on returning. If you change your plans make sure they know.

Kayaking can be very rewarding in the winter months as long as you observe the rules, use caution ,and DO NOT take chances. Dress warm. You can always take off layers and place them in an extra dry bag. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to kayak.